Dan O'Heirity

Rudy Giuliani Has Clearly Lost the Plot

Giuliani has played an absolutely central role in Trump’s campaign to try to overturn the American presidential election results. Watching Giuliani over the last three weeks we have seen absolute farce as challenge after challenge has been thrown out by the courts. But wait. As reported by the Daily Mail, Giuliani has tweeted, “‘BIG WIN FOR HONEST ELECTIONS. Antrim County Judge in Michigan orders forensic examination of 22 Dominion voting machines”. You might think that Giuliani was referring to the judge ordering an examination of the machines used in the presidential election race but you would be wrong. He is referring to machines used to vote on a proposal concerning marijuana. Giuliani sees this as a win because machines of the same type were used in the election and so, if these machines were found to be unreliable then Trump’s campaign could make the case that the machines used in the election were also unreliable. A bit of a stretch but we shall see. As for Giuliani, it is difficult to believe that he has fallen so far as to act as Trump’s lawyer in lodging dozens of legal challenges which are really nothing more than baseless claims of voter fraud. One wonders what Giuliani will do once Biden is actually sworn in as President of the United States. After all, he is now widely perceived to be something of a buffoon. And then of course there is the “Borat incident” with the now the infamous image of Giuliani in a hotel room with his hands down his trousers in the presence of a young woman whom he believed to a be a TV reporter. Tough to recover from that one.

The daily mail also reports that, the star witness in “Trump’s ‘voter fraud’ case in Michigan was recently released from probation after being accused of sending her fiancé’s ex-wife pornographic videos and then attempting to frame her of stealing them“. If true, then I think we can assume that she was a bad choice as a witness. And really, did no one think to check her background and if they did check did they really think that no one would find out about her criminal past. Finally, and much more seriously, as reported by ABC News, an armed mob of Trump supporters gathered outside the home of the chief election officer and Secretary of State for Michigan, Jocelyn Benson. She was at home with her 4 year old child and the mob shouted obscenities through bull horns. Police had to intervene. There is a key point here which is that Trump has most likely achieved what he wanted to achieve before exiting the Whitehouse. He has divided America, undermined democratic processes and his constant unfounded allegations of widespread voter fraud have galvanized his faithful into action. They will be ready and waiting for what he does post presidency. Well, at least those who have not died from Covid-19 under Trump’s presidency. I highly recommend you watch this video chronicling Trump’s disastrous and reckless approach to dealing with the pandemic.

China’s Expansionist Strategy Needs to Be Stopped

As reported by The Guardian, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu has said that the, “international community must join together in resisting China’s expansionism and preventing an invasion of Taiwan by sharing intelligence, rethinking Chinese business ties and boosting Taipei’s presence on the world stage“. Wu points to China’s clashes with India on the border between the two countries and to China imposing a new security law on Hong Kong. He voices concern that China might well try to take “Taiwan” and outlines that such an act would have severe consequences for security in the Pacific region. I have written on this point many times so I will just say that China has, for a very long time, been making territorial claims in the South China sea as well as creating man made islands that appear to be Chinese military bases. If China controlled this region then China would control major shipping routes. China would also have advanced itself militarily through having control of a region that could act as a basis for further military aggression. Wu artfully points out that China would be within striking distance of America’s West coast should Taiwan fall to China. Personally I find it difficult to believe that China is going to stop with Hong Kong because Xi Jinping’s hubris will lead to further attempts at expansionism. The same point that China has no intention of stopping is made by Senator Penny Wong, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate in this video from Sky News. The report also looks more broadly at China’s aggressive expansionism and the need for countries to stand up to China, particularly in the South China sea region.

You would have to have been living off the grid not to know that China has spent the greater part of 2020 punishing Australia for taking a stance against Beijing including calling for an independent inquiry into the origins and spread of Covid-19. The punishment has taken the form of putting tariffs on our exports to China in order to coerce Australia into behaving in a way that would be acceptable to Beijing. Most recently China has put a 200% tariff on Australian wines. Then “gloves came off” a while back with China providing a list of 14 grievances against Australia. The message was clear. Address the issues or continue to be punished. Most recently, a Chinese diplomate released a fake image on Twitter depicting an Australian soldier holding a knife to the throat of an Afghan boy. The image was referencing an inquiry in Australia into possible war crimes but Australian soldiers. Beijing sought to take the moral high ground, referring to the horrible atrocities by certain Australian soldiers. For fuck’s sake. This is China, a country that has the worst human rights record of just about any country in the world. North Korea might be an exception. However, Australia has little room to manoeuvre in terms of its economic dependency on China. We are too dependent on China for our export industry and we are too dependent on China for imports of cheap goods. Australia is at fault in this respect. We have been lazy in the way in which we have conducted business but it is not too late. Countries around the world are waking up to China and we will, hopefully, see new trading partnerships formed to dilute our dependency on China. Other countries should be looking to do the same because China has now shown it’s true face to the world. The equation is simple. If you don’t want to be beholden to China then don’t get yourself into a position of dependency.

It Looks Like the Covid-19 Vaccine Is Here

A few days ago I reported that the the United Kingdom’s medicines regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), became the first regulator in the western world to approve a Covid-19 vaccine. The UK has now started to roll out a vaccine program. ABC News reports that hundreds of thousands of people in China have already been vaccinated and lists Russia as another country where vaccines have started to be distributed. The United States may well start a vaccination program later this month. The extent to which any particular vaccine might work in the “real world” is as yet unknown because the vaccines have only been tested under laboratory conditions. However, it looks like there are reasons to be hopeful. However, I find myself thinking that I will not be first in line for a vaccine when it becomes widely available in Australia. My thinking is fairly straightforward. There is a sense that approval processes have fast tracked the Covid-19 vaccine. There may well be good reason for the fast tracking. For example, the death toll from Covid-19 is alarmingly high on a daily basis. However, I’d prefer to think that any vaccine made available would have gone through lengthy and pronounced testing measures. That said, I get that if you are living in say Italy or America then you might decide to get vaccinated because the death rates in those two countries are off the charts. Not so in Australia. In fact, I would argue as I have argued many times before, that Australia never really saw a pandemic. Using my preferred data source, as of today there have been 27,984 confirmed Covid-19 cases along with 908 deaths. The vast majority of deaths have been related to aged care services. Reason enough to hold off on getting the jab.

First Published December 8th, 2020

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